Friday, May 10, 2013

World Link, Foreign Exchange Students, Students with a Cause!

Over the past few months the Red Cross Central Valley Region southern counties has had the opportunity to work with the wonderful students from World Link. World Link is an organization that conducts exchange programs nationwide. The program connects youth from varies countries with educators, families and government projects within the United States. The purpose of the program is to improve people’s understanding of the different cultures from around the world.
While in the United States World Link students are to participate in community service, leadership activities and demonstrate leadership skills. The wonderful students homed at various high schools throughout Tulare and Kings Counties did exactly that! Sandra, Preparedness Coordinator and I had the opportunity to work with the AMAZING group of youth during the 2013 Tulare County Team Firestopper Fire Safety Seminar event. These students were at the event from morning to late afternoon and they were excited the whole entire time! Once trained at their designated booth/station they were all set to teach families about the different areas of preparedness including, Build-A-Kit, Make-A-Plan, Pet Safety, Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Safety, hands only CPR and how to operate a fire extinguisher. We were excited to see how engaged the students were and their great leadership skills. By the end of the day they were experts. I was glad that the students realized the importance of this information; they took full advantage of the day and were genuinely concerned about one another’s safety that at the end of the event they went around to each station and taught each other all the educational material.
Since the World Link students have volunteered their time and met the criteria for a FREE CPR class we welcomed them back to the Visalia Branch Office for their training. In addition to their training, as a showing of appreciation, we thought we would give them some little keep sake presents to take with them back home. Some students will return to countries that do not have such an elaborate emergency services system. Among the stories shared, a student who lost a grandfather due to no insurance or money to pay the emergency responders and a student who was worried that emergency responders back home could not reach a loved one in time. If you think about it, these are life changing events that can occur within any country, but we often take for granted the fact that we here in the U.S can receive help in a timely matter and regardless of insurance. In the U.S. a paramedic will not ask for payment first and refuse care if we cannot pay. Therefore, we are glad that these students now have the knowledge, training and skills in CPR to save a life of a friend, loved one or neighbor back home. The smile on their faces at the end of the day and the sincere thank you was absolutely heartwarming and priceless!
We at the American Red Cross Central Valley Region are so grateful and thankful to have had the opportunity to meet each and every one of these students. Their stories are touching and their personalities are electric. We look forward to the continuum of the partnership and the new group of students that we will receive during the 2013-2014 school year. As for the students we had this year, we will miss you and we wish you the best of luck in the future!
Below is a list of students, their home country and high School! Pretty cool and awesome stuff, check it out!
Anna-Kazakhstan-El Diamante High School
Nurgul-Kyrgyzstan-El Diamante High School
Vladimir-Kazakhstan-Tulare Western
Ani-Armenia-Mount Whitney High School
Krystyna-Ukraine-Tulare Union
Kamila- Kazakhstan-Mount Whitney High School
Lilit-Armenia-Hanford High
Aleksandre-Georgia-Tulare Western
Aneela-Pakistan               -Redwood High School
Srishty-India-Sierra Pacific High
Andrey-Tajikistan-Hanford West
Zuhro-Tajikistan-Hanford West
Niso-Tajikistan-Mount Whitney High School       
Zarina-Kyrgyzstan-Exter High School
Madina-Kazakhstan-Tulare Union High School
Dmytro-Ukraine-Mission Oak High School
Azniv-Armenia-Golden West
Lidia-Moldova-Hanford West

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